The Americas in the Age of Revolution: 1750-1850

Lester D. Langley, Author Yale University Press $60 (400p) ISBN 978-0-300-06613-5
Every serious scholar of United States or Latin American history should own this book. Although it's not a light read, it is an intriguing study and is a vital complement to bibliography of this field. Revolutionary leaders of this era were profoundly influenced by the successes of those that went before. Langley, a professor of history at the University of Georgia and coauthor (with Thomas Schoonover) of The Banana Men, proposes ""a portrait of hemispheric political culture in an epoch spanning three wars in the Americas, each of which left a powerful legacy for the new states that took form in their aftermath. In a half-century, three European empires fell to independence movements."" This comparative history of the revolutionary age in the Americas emphasizes the social tensions and political upheavals that transformed British North America into the United States, French Saint Domingue into Haiti and Spanish America into South America and Mexico. The author is mindful, however, of the aftermath of violence and the death of empires, and he closely examines the social and political climate of the postrevolutionary periods. But the book is a supplement, not a substitute. While it contains voluminous notes (nearly 70 pages), maps and an index, prior knowledge of the region's history is required for full enjoyment. Langley's study is a valuable matrix of events that can help us better understand the relationships in our hemisphere then and now. Illustrated. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1996
Release date: 11/01/1996
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-300-07726-1
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